Talk to the Crest

Recent palaeontological research suggests that those spectacular crests that adorn the heads of the duck-billed type of dinosaur may have been used to communicate.


“The struc­tures con­tain ex­tremely long, con­vo­lut­ed na­sal pas­sages that loop up over the tops of their skulls. In the stu­dy, sci­en­tists used med­i­cal scans to peer in­side these crests and re­con­struct the brains and na­sal ca­vi­ties of four dif­fer­ent lam­be­o­saur spe­cies,” reports World Science.

Com­put­er mod­els … sug­gest that the crests could have been used to make low, ee­rie bel­low­ing calls that could have been used in com­mu­nica­t­ion, per­haps to call for mates or warn oth­ers of preda­tors.

The new study used used CT, or com­put­ed to­mog­ra­phy, scans, a meth­od of ex­am­in­ing ob­jects with X-rays and a com­put­er that builds a se­ries of cross-sec­tion­al scans.

The scans doc­u­mented a del­i­cate in­ner ear that con­firms that the di­no­saurs could hear the low calls produced by the crest, said [a member of the research team]. “We were sur­prised to see just how large the cen­ters of the brain as­so­ci­at­ed with high­er cog­ni­tive func­tions were … We sus­pected that the crest­ed duck-billed di­no­saurs used both vo­cal and vis­u­al dis­plays, but now we see that they had the brain pow­er and hear­ing to pull off these be­hav­iors.”

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2 Responses to Talk to the Crest

  1. Avery says:

    I can see it now; instead of “Walking With Dinosaurs” it’s “Talking With Dinosaurs”.

  2. Backbrain says:

    Ha! Now, why didn’t I think of that? Would have been a good headline!

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